(Ånsgtröm Records, 2014)
The international duo of Fujako (Jonathan Uliel Saldanha and Nicolas Esterle) create Experimental Hip Hop with sounds quite different from the typical stuff you usually hear in music like this. Adding vocals of MC Black Saturn bring some old-school Hip Hop elements to the already urban-sounding grooves of the mix, yet Fujako also has a weird natural (as in coming from nature) vibe to their beats, not just sound-wise. There are also some Industrial and IDM-like Psychedelic elements to be found in the music, all in perfect harmony. This stuff is not minimalistically Electronic like Death Grips, yet there is also something similar in attitude to be found here, intensive without aggressive sounds.
The first release I heard from Fujako, “Soul Buzz”, has an extremely catching and interesting sound and vibe to it right from the beginning. I’m hearing the clanky off-beat drums of “My Kingdom”, mixed with weird loops from Prefuse 73 meeting later COIL, with Black Saturn’s rhythmic speech, not quite rapping, without rhymes but still very Hip Hop in nature, taking the music to urban landscapes in some weird futuristic Tribal way. There is a lot happening in the first song alone, giving new weird sensations with each listen, when listened to concentrated (although this stuff grabs you by your brain concentrated or not). The second song is a bit more Ambient in nature, while the last two have a Trip Hop -like Industrial feel to them, with weird vocals.
The latest release from the collective, “Exobell” features eight songs of various personalities, while having the unique personal Fujako-mentality to all of them, familiar from the previous release. Again, half of the sounds are familiar to me from nineties IDM like Future Sound Of London, while half is wooden- and leathery-sounding in a Tribal way. Percussions made with Organic and Electronic sounds, cool loops of Ethnic and Industrial nature, synths and sounds of flutes and horns bringing (even more than before) visions of nature and the cities. Ambient in character in some aspects, yet each track featuring the trademark unique beats Hip Hop style, sometimes controlled and simple, sometimes off-beat and more chaotic, but always distinctive of Fujako. MC Black Saturn’s quite minimalist yet personal-sounding vocals are done again with the rapping attitude, yet contain usually no rhymes per se, but rather sample-like spoken parts.
All fans of Ambient music, nineties IDM-acts with beats, or more modern Experimental Hip Hop like Death Grips or Flying Lotus, should feel welcome in the weird psychedelic natural yet urban world of Fujako.
8.5/10 – Antti Mikonmäki